DENVER — For the last several years, Re:Vision’s farm on its Westwood campus has flourished — one piece of a much larger food access model at the heart of the nonprofit’s mission.
“Our larger reform and food justice model includes family gardens in which we take this urban farm food access concept into the backyards of our families here in Westwood,” said Mariana del Hierro, executive director of Re:Vision.
Through a new partnership with the Urban Land Conservancy, a real estate nonprofit, they’ll now be able to continue their work for the next 99 years.
“It allows us to stay in place, and it allows us to really expand what we can do along in Westwood and along Morrison Road," said del Hierro. "I know we have access to this corridor that can be developed with the voices of the Westwood community at the center of that development."
Re:Vision will still own the buildings on its campus, while at the same time securing the land for the community of Westwood through a 99-year ground lease provided by the conservancy.
“We see this as an extraordinary tool when we understand the displacement that so many other nonprofits have been facing," said Sarah Harman, vice president of real estate for ULC. "Really what we're trying to do is to anchor and promote the beautiful things that are happening."
As new development and gentrification shifts the landscape of many Denver neighborhoods, it gives del Hierro peace knowing some things will never change.
“It's definitely being able to set a legacy in Westwood, and it's not so much a legacy of Re:Vision but it's a community, a cultural legacy, for this pocket of southwest Denver,” said del Hierro.
The agreement also allows Re:Vision to concentrate on future projects.
“We were thinking strategically and really looked for a strong partner like ULC that could really come in and bring its expertise of property development so that we could really focus on meeting the needs and expanding our programming here in Westwood,” said del Hierro.
At the end of the 99 years, there’s also an option to extend the deal for another term — a move that could have an impact on generations to come in the heart of Westwood.